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Bosnia-Herzegovina set to apply for EU membership

The Financial times report that Bosnia & Herzegovina might be inching closer to a formal applications towards EU membership. Enjoy the read.

Bosnia­ & Herzegovina is set to make a formal application for EU membership — potentially as early as this month, according to its foreign minister, two decades after the Dayton Agreement that ended the Balkan war that killed 100,000 people.

The former Yugoslav republic’s presidency decided late last year that an application should be submitted by the end of January, Igor Crnadak, the Bosnian foreign minister, said in London.


“We are trying to stick to this as much as possible,” he added. “From Brussels, and also from London, the message is, however, that it is much more important to have a complete and credible application that can be accepted right away, rather than do it quickly and not have the quality. So we will try to somehow meet both.”

Bosnia’s plans show that the EU’s attractiveness to non­members remains undimmed despite the problems engulfing the 28­member bloc, from the Greek debt crisis to the influx of migrants from the Middle East — many of them through the western Balkans.

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They also suggest former socialist countries in eastern and south­east Europe have not been deterred from pursuing closer EU ties by Russia’s intervention in Ukraine after the revolution of 2014 installed a pro­western government in Kiev.Mr Crnadak said he had met his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov twice since becoming foreign minister last March. European integration was “fully acceptable for [Moscow] and they wish us well on this road”, he insisted.

But the minister said while Bosnia supported close co­operation with Nato, it was not pursuing membership of the military alliance since “we do not have consensus on this”. A full EU membership application would mark rapid progress since a British­German initiative in late 2014 sought to rekindle Bosnia’s long­stalled integration hopes. It is also likely to face scepticism in some capitals. The Dayton anniversary late last year refocused attention on the complex and often dysfunctional political make­up that resulted from the USbrokered peace deal between the country’s Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks, or Bosnian Muslims.

Bosnia was carved into two largely autonomous political entities — the Serb­dominated Republika Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, for Croats and Muslims. Milorad Dodik, the nationalist Republika Srpska president, has repeatedly called for a referendum on secession and warned that EU integration could undermine the Serbian entity. Both parts of the country saw violent demonstrations in early 2014 over poor living standards, crippling youth unemployment, and ineffective government. London and Berlin won backing 15 months ago for a plan for the EU to abandon its previous insistence on changes to Bosnia’s electoral rules — demanded by the European Court of Human

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